Elijah Bates

Let’s face it: no one ever keeps a New Year’s Resolution. Usually, within a few weeks, that exercise bike you got for Christmas is already stowed tightly away under some boxes in the garage, and all that health food you stocked your kitchen with just after January began has started a compost heap in the confines of your fridge.

But for the tailgate aficionado though, there’s a slew of quality “to-dos” easy to set in stone for the next 365 days (or at least the remainder of this season and the bulk of the next). The following are a few ideas to enhance your pre-game rituals, and life in general, without being a royal pain in your ass to boot:

10. Stuff Your Fat Face with Finer Foods
It’s true: Weber Grills can cook finer foods than tattered pig parts. To enhance the post-pre-game experience (i.e. the actual game), avoid acid reflux and hamburger burps altogether by trying out some new tailgate treats. As avoidable as it might sound, the good people at Field Roast make some vegan replacements that will blow your meat-loving mind. And if you just fancy yourself a sausage-tasting, intestine-casing curmudgeon, try ditching the pork, chicken and beef, and switching it all out with some seafood filler for a change.

9. We Will Never Forget…the Game
Tired of the begrudging Monday morning routine of having to ask your co-workers what happened in the game you bragged all week about giving half your paycheck to get a ticket for? Then the solution is simple: stop blacking out before the game is over! Of course, it might mean you have to hold back a little bit more than usual when sucking down that dog piss-esque lite beer you treasure so dearly. On the plus side, however, at least you’ll feel like that $400 you spent didn’t go entirely to waste.

8. Be a Spectacle at a Different Scene
Look, as much as we all might hope for the opposite, football season STILL doesn’t last all year long. But lucky for you, sports as a general category DO, and as fate might have it, the vast majority of you aren’t solely fans of the gridiron. Most of you have other event-based interests; and hell, some of you are actually married! So do you, your friends and/or your family a favor: start a new trend and try tailgating something entirely unexpected. A hockey game. A pro wrestling match. The ballet. Even Burning Man.

7. Don’t Dress Like a Complete Idiot
It may be hard to come clean to yourself, but those jorts, your beanie and a bottle of body paint ain’t doing you any favors, not only with prospective females who happen to see you, but also by fellow fanatics who are keeping the itch in check. The next time you’re about to drop a dime on some threads in support of your team, try spending that money to enhance your social life instead. Go get yourself some nice pants and a fancy shirt, for crying out loud! You might not be able to wear them 16 Sundays out of the year, but that still leaves 349 days open.

6. Give Back to Your Community Once
On your team’s off day, skip the field, the sport and your TV altogether. Alternatively, hit up a local soup kitchen, clean up the beach, visit the elderly, donate blood or find some other way to help out and give back to your community at large. You may not love the activity at the time, but at the very least, it’ll give you a nice pulpit to stand on the following Sunday, when you meet back up with your usual pre-game crew. Every NFL team out there has a bye week, so there’s really no excuse here.

5. Tour the World Via Exotic Beers
Unless you’ve poisoned your liver to the extent that you can’t stomach anything above a Coors Light-level BAC, turn your tailgate experiences into a tour of the world by trying some new lagers from different countries. Even if your trip to Belgium is only made possible by sampling some suds from the New Belgium Brewing Company (headquarters: Fort Collins, CO), that Fat Tire is still more exotic than the all-American Budweiser you’ve been kicking back en masse, courtesy of Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V. (headquarters: Leuven, Belgium).

4. Go to Church, If Only for Spectacle
For a unique experience on a football-less Sunday, hit up a church. But don’t just go to the one you were dragged to throughout your childhood; on the contrary, try a house of worship from a drastically different belief system than that of your own, like a mosque, a Mormon tabernacle, a Scientology center, an Old Spaghetti Factory (or wherever followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster gather), etc. If anything, it’ll give you something [crazy] to talk about when you’re back with your buds.

3. Practice Family First with Keg Stands
A desire to “celebrate” before the kick-off should never keep families apart. So long as your dad or son enjoys a good pre-game party too…hell, if your mom or even your grandma tailgates, do the family a favor and come together outside the stadium! That is, unless they’re in AA (unrelated to NCAA), in which case you should call them first thing in the morning to drop an “I love you” and then remind them not to visit your Facebook Wall for the next few days, because the subsequent photos will all look really, really fun.

2. It’s Always Funny in Philadelphia
The next time you’re outside of the stadium, quiz your buddies on some good ideas for a new team mascot, or better yet, a mascot for your crew. Then, during the week, put the costume together so that it’s ready to go on game day. For a few cues on how to “fill the role” once you get there, check out the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode “The Gang Gets Invincible” (particularly scenes with Charlie and Frank). Sure, it’ll be a memorable experience for your friends, but for you, it will undoubtedly be the most monumental tailgate of all time.

1. Turn the Tailgate into a Local Event
There’s no reason why your tailgate event shouldn’t grow bigger than your fattest friend’s belly. Seriously, how awesome would it really be if ANYONE out of the ordinary happened to show up? Suggestion: invite celebrities of any variety; local, national, international, D-list—who cares? THEY’RE CELEBRITIES! Just don’t forget to Livestream the whole thing and update your Twitter account constantly too. After all, everything’s funny when you’re drunk, but when a celebrity’s drunk? That’s when there’s some money to be made, baby!

Got a tailgate resolution of your own? Have ideas to enhance any of the above? Then by all means, let’s continue the social conversation in the comment board below! CHEERS!

Elijah Bates leads the creative department at CitizenGlobal, a social media company in Venice Beach. When he’s not working, or contributing Best Of and Mancave articles to CBS, you’ll find him surfing the California coast & evading stingrays like trips to the dentist.

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